Science Fiction

Science Fiction

Movie: Prometheus

What can I say other than, it was a disappointment. It was shinny and pretty to look at for 2 hours but parts of it made no sense. And other parts of it were completely stupid. I was hoping for more considering it was part of the Alien franchise, but I guess I’ll just call it an inferior spin-off.

Just plain D-U-M-B

The opening sequence with the alien chomping on some bad chewing tobacco is supposed to explain what exactly? how he slipped and fell into the water and created humanity? Really? DNA works like that? … just add water and voila! Not quite. There’s no science in that fiction.

Other stupid shit like why, oh why, when exploring unknown alien structures, does the team always end up getting split up and lost. Don’t they watch scarey movies? Don’t they know what happens to the secondary characters after they split off from the main ones? You die! you dumb red shirts. You are the first course on the baddies meal card.

And when a giant space ship or collapsing building is falling toward you, always remember, TURN … left or right, it matters not … just TURN! Go 90 degrees away from the falling object and you will survive to be in the even crappier sequel.

I can go on for pages complaining about the obvious blunders in this movie, but fortunately someone else did that for me. Read it here.

Where’s the Girl Power?

I am a HUGE fan of powerful women. I love the Ellen Ripley character in the Alien series. But in this movie the females let me down. Charlize Theron played Meredith Vickers and she was stiffer than David the android. No warmth, no emotion … maybe no beating heart either … She was the poster girl for the “Cold Hearted Bitch” club.

Now granted, Elizabeth Shaw’s character was a tough cookie and the lone survivor (she was played by Noomi Rapace who also played Lisbeth Salander in the 2009 film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). But some of her scenes were also slightly stupid. I mean she pops into a surgical tube, gets sliced open, alien inners sucked out, tummy stapled shut and then she runs through the ship in gauze tape panties and boobie holders … without bledding to death… and then stops to have a casual conversation with another crew member… that’s not likely.

Again, I know it’s science fiction, but should it make some kind of basic common sense too? Don’t ya think?

Overall I have an idea of where they were trying to go with the story, and it seems interesting, but they didn’t quite get there.  To me the Alien series is about the indomitable human will to survive. This movie did not show me that. I guess the aliens won this round.

— KRR

Book: Aztlan – The Last Sun

This is another new release by one of my favorite Star Trek authors Michael Jan Friedman, “Aztlan: The Last Sun” . I am currently reading his previous book  “Fight the Gods” released in late 2011.

Here is the official book description:

It’s 2012. Maxtla Colhua is an Investigator for the Empire–an Aztec Empire that, having successfully repelled Hernan Cortes in 1603, stretches from one end of what we know as the Americas to the other. Now the Last Sun is upon Maxtla’s people, and someone has decided to punctuate it with a series of grisly murders reminiscent of the Aztecs’ pagan sacrifices in ancient times. Can Maxtla find the killer before his city is ripped apart and the Last Sun becomes the death knell for the Empire?

Aztlan: The Last Sun”  is the first in a series of brand-new murder mysteries set in an exciting world that never was but could have been!

This one speaks to my love of ancient civilizations, especially those from the Americas. It’s definitely on my “buy next for my Kindle” list.

As soon as I can finish “Fight the Gods” this one will be next. Get your copy now.

-KRR

World outside your window

I wasn’t an avid comic book reader in my youth. My exposure was limited to a few issues of various sci-fi comics that my girlfriend had lying around. When I was bored I would pick up an X-Men issue or some other super hero. I loved the visuals and I was of course drawn to the female characters … the ones that kicked ass, not the frail ones that were waiting around to be rescued. Oh please!

Even though most stories told in the comics were a bit beyond reality, what with their big alien monsters and mega super powers, they always seemed to me to be a better world than the one outside my window, evil monsters notwithstanding. The X-Men series became one of my favorites since they were essentially mutants, the ultimate outsiders and minority group. They were very different and feared because of their differences.

Naturally I identified with them, being a mutant myself … sans the superpowers 🙁

This month I heard something that brought a huge smile to my face, Northstar is getting married! Check out this story. Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men comic features two gay superheros getting engaged. In issue #50 Northstar proposes to his boyfriend Kyle and in issue #51 they will get married. Yeay, yippie!

I hear alot of my friends and writing buddies complain often about how there aren’t many LGBT characters in science fiction. And the few that do exist usually end up killed or going crazy. Hopefully that isn’t a sign of things to come for Northstar and Kyle.

I wish them many years of wedded bliss with occasional breaks to defend the world against evil baddies!

— KRR

Movie: John Carter (of Mars)

The film is based on A Princess of Mars (1917) by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is the first installment in a movie trilogy based on Burroughs’ 11-volume Barsoom series of novels (1912–43). That’s right … written almost 100 years ago!

I admit I had not heard of this series before the movie came out, so many of my sci-fi loving friends gave me an immediate history lesson. Apparently Burroughs’s Barsoom series inspired many well-known science fiction writers (Bradbury, Clark) in addition to real life scientists (Sagan) over the years. It may have even influenced the early US space race. My friends also pointed out that, when comparing  any similarities between this movie/books  and contemporary sci-fi movies/books, you have to remember that Burroughs did it first.

Speaking of the movie … I loved it. I enjoyed every part of it. It did not disappoint in story content nor flashy shiny stuff. There was A LOT going on in this movie and it would be easy for anyone to get lost. There were many groups, characters, baddies and goodies … and a huge lightning fast puppy-critter.  I enjoyed following along with each plot twist and turn. It kept my mind thoroughly entertained, which is hard to do nowadays. Unfortunately the bean counters at Disney considered the movie a bomb and hopes for a sequel are on hold.

So while we wait for the Ferengi accountants to approve the sequel, run (don’t walk) to your local bookstore and buy one or all 11 volumes of the Barsoom series if you haven’t already read them. That’s what I’m going to do right now.

– KRR

Book: Fight The Gods

I’ve recently picked up a copy of “Fight the Gods” by one of my favorite Star Trek authors Michael Jan Friedman. I had the opportunity to meet him in person and he signed my copy, personalized it too!

Here is the official book description:

At the age of thirty-eight, Zeno Aristos is trying to find himself. Much to his girlfriend’s chagrin, he’s quit the New York City police force and can’t figure out what he wants to do with his life. A job in security doesn’t appeal to him. Bodyguard work leaves him cold. Only single-wall handball, with its street culture of razor-edged competition, seems to get his juices flowing.

Then someone close to Zeno is kidnapped, and his search for that person leads him through a gauntlet of increasingly dark and cryptic forces, taking him from the sullen streets of gang-ravaged Brooklyn to the manicured cemeteries of suburban New Jersey to the slick corporate penthouses of midtown Manhattan. The deeper Zeno digs, the more certain he is that he’s dealing not with a mere earthly adversary, but with an entity steeped in the deepest and most malevolent of ancient mysteries.

In Fight The Gods, Friedman takes a major creative step beyond the Star Trek novels, comic books, and television scripts with which his name has become synonymous, and braves the sinister rooftops and mystical back alleys of urban fantasy. Whatever you think you know of him or of his work…you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

If I get a chance to finish it, amidst everything else on my plate 🙂 … I will post a review. Buy your copy today!

-KRR

Son of War Series – My Dark Soul

As planned I set aside “Tin Man” (TM) for this month, to give myself some space. I’ve been staring at it for over 2 months straight and now I can’t even see it anymore. Time for a change of pace.

For January I’m headed back to my “Son of War” (SOW) series. This one is my baby. I’ve been working on it off & on for more years than I can remember. It has changed shape several times and its current form vaguely resembles its initial one. I guess you can say it is growing up big & strong like a baby should.

Here’s a little history on this series…

It began as an attempt at a Star Trek fan fiction piece, set just before ST6: The Undiscovered Country (one of my favorite Star Trek films). Then I fell in love with the original characters that I had created. I enjoyed writing for them more than the preexisting Star Trek characters. After all, Spock, Kirk and Sulu were already established characters, so there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room there.

That’s when my story took a left turn.

I dumped all the preexisting Star Trek characters and moved the focus of my story away from the Federation. It’s still in the Star Trek universe with Klingons, Romulans and Vulcans …oh my! But the point of view of the story, the main character, is not your typical Feddy viewpoint. In fact the entire mood of the story is very non-Trek. There’s no guaranteed “happily ever after” ending. There’s no safe character that can’t possibly be killed off. And those that are killed off (surprise surprise) … actually stay dead. No, I took the holodeck safeties off for this series. Nothing is off limits.

That is probably why this series has such a dark and ominous tone to it. I often refer to it, and the main character, as having a dark soul. There are a lot of depressing elements in this series:

  • Death
  • Suffering
  • Persecution
  • Helplessness
  • Discrimination
  • Isolation
  • Manipulation
  • Hopelessness
  • Despair

And that’s just the first volume! It’s no wonder I named the first book in the series “The Dying Soul” (TDS).

This first book introduces the main character at the most vulnerable point of his life. It is about passing thru change/death and being reborn. Before he can become the man he is destined to be, he must first die and leave his past and his pain behind. He then can embark on a journey of self-discovery, to learn who he is.

(Now before you start commenting about “it sounds like a religious theme”… let me point out that “dying & being reborn” is more a nature theme and its in everything. Religion does not have a lock on that particular theme.)

One of my many goals for 2012 is to finally finish the first draft of SOW:TDS. With TM also on the playing field vying for some of my very limited free time, we’ll see which one gets to the completed draft stage at the end of this year. It would be fabulous if both stories made it. Wouldn’t that just frost my NYE cake!!

– KRR

New Year, New Thoughts

Happy New Year!  Feliz Año Nuevo! Feliz Ano Novo!

I’ve been a busy spinner this month. First I gave my brain a break by putting the “Tin Man” (TM) project on the shelf for a month. Need to get it out of my daily thoughts so I came come back to it in February with fresh eyes.

So what will I be working on?

I am going back to my monstrous multi-volume story “Son of War” (SOW). I left it in state of chaos last Fall when I focused my writing efforts on my NaNoWriMo project instead. Recently I began tightening the outline more and straightening the derailed plots this month. The characters in that series are very opinionated and have led me down many interesting paths. However this year I’d like to finally nail down this wandering series and finish the first volume by the end of year. It’s a daunting task for this huge series since any decisions I make in any of the volumes will effect the others.

I plan to return to TM in February and make some serious decisions on what to keep and what to dump. There’s also room for a sequel or two  if I write it that way.  I also have plans to finish the first draft of TM by the end of this year. We’ll see.

-KRR

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